Caf President Ahmad Ahmad was denied a visa to travel to the United States to attend crucial Fifa Council meeting in Miami set for Friday.
The reasons for the denial of Ahmad’s visa by US authorities are unknown. There are no US government-issued travel bans to the US on Malagasy citizens. Madagascar is not part of the US’s ESTA Visa waiver programme.
The denial of a US visa is particularly unusual for such a high ranking official attending an important meeting in the country. It is not clear whether he will be able to appeal the decision in time to attend or whether higher US government forces will intervene on his behalf – much would obviously depend on the reasons for the visa denial.
Ahmad is a key ally of Fifa president Gianni Infantino and would have been one of the important voices of support for Infantino’s global calendar plans.
The United States is set to host the World Cup in 2026 alongside Mexico and Canada.
The possible expansion of the 2022 World Cup is poised to dominate discussions
Infantino wants to increase the number of teams due to take part in the footballing showpiece from 32 to 48, bringing forward by four years an expansion which has already been set for the 2026 finals.
Ahmad was elected president of Caf in 2017, ousting veteran leader Issa Hayatou after 29 years in office.
Ahmad won the election in the Ethiopian capital by 34 votes to Hayatou’s 20, official results showed.
The 59-year-old father of two, had a discreet playing and coaching career before he took the reins of the Madagascar football federation in 2003.